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Johnny Learns His Manners

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Johnny Learns His Manners


Published 1946


An ill-mannered, selfish and untidy little boy is turned into a pig until his "good self" conquers his "bad self."


Run time 17:17
Producer Harman (Hugh) Prods.
Sponsor N/A
Audio/Visual Sd, B&W

Shotlist

AN ARTIST'S DRAWING BOARD SHOWS HOW A LITTLE BOY WHO IS UNTIDY, ILL-MANNERED, & SELFISH IS TURNED INTO A PIG UNTIL HIS "GOODSELF" CONQUERS HIS "BADSELF" MOSTLY UNANIMATED DRAWINGS, SHORT LIVE ACTION SEGMENT, "HUMAN DOMINO" WITH FOOTBALL PLAYERS.

Ken Smith checks in and sez: Much less than you'd expect. This film is nothing but a series of still, sketchy pencil drawings, one every five or ten seconds, shot with an optical printer. The story is fun: a little boy, obeying his evil conscience (and ignoring his good one), becomes increasingly ill-mannered and, as a consequence, slowly transforms into a pig. But a film of sketchy pencil stills? You might as well read a book.

The war between Johnny's "bad self" and "good self"
animation; cartoon drawn by a hand on the screen; simple line drawings;
child's messy room.
"Johnny's a terribly untidy little boy. Did you ever see such an untidy room? His mother has asked him so many times to hang up his clothes and put away his toys. And like all little boys, he had a good self who told him the things to do. And he knew he should hang up his pajamas."
Johnny's bad self says "Don't be a sissy."
the little boy gradually turns partly into a pig
he becomes a bad sport; an elaborate story of a boy who turns into a pig because he's afraid of being a sissy.
they eventually look at footage West Point Cadets;
barracks; shining their caps; Annapolis; Navy football; tackling; kicking a football training dummy; a whole line goes down; baseball playing ; stadium.

HUMAN DOMINOS FOOTBALL PLAYERS SPORTS DRAWINGS ANIMATION WEST POINT CADETS ANNAPOLIS CAUTIONARY MEDIA ETIQUETTE MANNERS
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comment
Reviews

Reviewer: beaelliott - - June 8, 2011
Subject: Keeping the myth alive
This was a good effort with a bad plot... Turning this little boy into any "nonhuman" was absolutely pointless. Especially a "pig". Pigs are actually very clean critters. They will go through great efforts to not soil in the areas that they live. They roll in the mud as cooling mechanisms because they can't sweat. Pigs are also not "dumb" beings either. They are smarter than dogs and smarter than most 3 year old kids.

Reinforcing this myth of "dirty" pigs is not only inaccurate but it allows humans to do all sorts of horrible things to this very "low" animal. Given the way we breed, house, raise and slaughter them it is actually humans who are the gluttonous ones.
Reviewer: Bob's Babe - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 13, 2007
Subject: Intended Audience
I don't know what the critics of this piece find so sub-standard. I just viewed it with my threee little boys, ages 5 through 10, and they all watched with rapt attention from beginning to end. That is NOT because they are quiet, reserved, perfectly obedient boys; it is because they LIKED it! It may not be your idea of a brilliant cinematic masterpiece, but it accomplished its intended purpose: to hold the attention of wiggleworms who need to learn, and be motivated to practice, good manners. I withhold a 5-star rating only because there is no way I can know yet whether it will actually get them to practice the desired behavior. Come on, guys. If you don't like it, either you are outside the intended audience parameters, or your children watch a lot of contemporary Hollywood video. My boys especially liked the footage of West Point and Annapolis cadets.
Reviewer: Wilford B. Wolf - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 28, 2005
Subject: Piggy
Hugh Harmon is one of the pioneers of American animation. Along with Rudolph Isling, he helped start 3 of the major animation studios. He started out working for Disney during the silent era. In 1929, he helped start the Warner Brothers animation unit, working on "Bosko, The Talk Ink Kid" and "Foxy And Roxy" series through the early 1930s. In the mid-1930s, he went over to work for MGM's new animation unit, mainly working on Disney-esque one off shorts. At all three, they helped foster a number of other important animators, including Friz Frieling and Hanna-Barberra. This long background explains the excellent rounded appearence to the art of this short, which is more of a throwback to 1930s Disney.

That said, as the other reviewer mentioned, this is clearly a case of grand ideas with too little budget. If this short had a budget or crew attached with a major studio, this would've been a minor lost classic, as the pacing and design evoke the time very well. As it stands now, it seems more like the reading of a picture book; well illustrated but a bit static. (Listen for the page turn of the narrator halfway through the film.) The designs, especially Johnny's transformation into a pig, are very cute.

As for the ideas, it seems like a cross between "Appreciating Our Parents" and "Soapy The Germ Fighter"-- to be a nice and polite little boy, you have to be neat and tighty and doing so doesn't make you a "sissy." As with "Soapy," the example here is cadets at West Point being regimented and polite but definately not weak.
Reviewer: Bunko - favoritefavoritefavorite - December 11, 2003
Subject: Someone's budget ran out...
I think "Johnny learns His Manners" would have been something of a classic if it had been produced as planned. This is nothing more than an animatic of the (very promising) storyboard with budget-minded narration added. My guess is that whomever commissioned Hugh Harman Productions to make this film couldn't pay to have it produced with full animation and a soundtrack as originally intended. Instead, this was thrown together as a contractual obligation. It's overlong but it clearly would have run much shorter as a real cartoon.

"Johnny Learns His Manners" was remade in 1968 by Milton Salzberg Productions with extremely limited animation and NASA stock footage replacing the West Point stock footage.

Hugh Harman Productions was also responsible for the clever and fondly-remembered dental hygiene cartoon "Winky The Watchman", likewise made around this time. I have no doubts that this would have been better, though...

Oh, and Johnny's mom is HOT!
Reviewer: cashel - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 12, 2003
Subject: pioneer
the maker of this film,hugh harman was one of thepioneers of film animation. He worked on walt disneys first film in 1922
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavorite - September 12, 2003
Subject: Hog Wild!
An interesting, if slightly overdone and overly long cartoon about a little boy who won't clean up after himself and is generally rude. Why? His bad self (that of course would be the tiny devil character) told him that doing that sort of stuff is for sissies. His good self (the angel) disagrees, but Johnny won't listen. Soon, Johnny starts LITERALLY turning into a little pig, with hooves, a snout and a tail. He comes crying home to mother, who isn't surprised at all with her son transforming into a boar. (MY mother would be showing some concern!) Mom turns on her convenient movie projector that happens to have military cadet footage, "See, they aren't sissies!". (Hmmm, ok.. ) and Johnny, convinced, starts behaving like a good little boy and soon his animal parts go away. While a great concept, the story again goes on FAR too long. And although the hand drawn animation is novel, it DOES look a little primitive. Finally, people complain that today's programming causes kids to get more violent. I wonder if this film caused kids to become more sloppier just for the excitement of growing a snout...
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